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patellar femoral syndrome and runners knee

Patellar Femoral Syndrome and Runner’s Knee: A Deeper Dive into Physiotherapy Solutions at Easy Allied Health

Armin Ghayyur

Armin Ghayyur

Patellar Femoral Syndrome (PFS), more colloquially known as Runner’s Knee, is a term most athletes, especially runners, are regrettably familiar with. It’s a knee condition that can significantly impede one’s ability to engage in physical activity, particularly when transitioning from a sedentary lifestyle to a more active one. Easy Allied Health, with its centers in Coquitlam and North Vancouver, has delved deep into its treatment, our Physiotherapists provide an approach that goes beyond the knee. Here’s what you need to know:

The Symptoms: Recognizing Patellar Femoral Syndrome

Most individuals with PFS report:

  • Pain and discomfort around the kneecap.
  • A pain onset after just a few minutes into their activity.
  • Lingering pain even post-activity.
  • Possible swelling around the knee, notably on its lateral side.

The Root Cause: Unmasking The Muscle Imbalance

Traditionally, the vastus medialis muscle has been the focal point of treatment for Runner’s Knee. The theory is that an imbalance in the quadriceps muscles causes the stronger lateral muscles to pull the kneecap towards them. This results in the misalignment of the kneecap during its glide up and down its groove. To address this, the conventional approach zeroes in on strengthening the vastus medialis to recreate a muscle balance.

The Hip Connection: A Broader Perspective

Yet, from our extensive experience at Easy Allied Health, our Physiotherapists have identified a more comprehensive solution that transcends the conventional wisdom. Although strengthening the vastus medialis can indeed be beneficial, we’ve found that in many cases, addressing the hip—especially the gluteus medialis muscle—can yield even better outcomes.

The gluteus medialis plays a pivotal role in stabilizing the hip and femur during activities like running. It prevents the unwanted internal rotation of the femur relative to the tibia. When this muscle is weak, it can compromise the stability of the knee. Strengthening the hip’s abductor muscle group can mitigate this internal femur rotation, ensuring smooth knee tracking.

The Easy Allied Health Approach

Our unique treatment approach focuses on:

  1. Identifying the Weaker Hip: This is the first step towards a targeted treatment plan.
  2. Strengthening the Hip: We prioritize hip strength, protecting the knee during the process to ensure smooth recovery.
  3. Complementary Treatments: Laser therapy and shockwave therapy are incorporated to alleviate pain, offering relief and accelerating healing.

The journey from recognizing the discomfort of Patellar Femoral Syndrome to fully understanding its intricacies can be daunting. However, at Easy Allied Health’s Coquitlam and North Vancouver locations, our comprehensive approach ensures you receive not just treatment, but a comprehensive understanding of your body and its needs. Your knees (and hips) are in safe hands with us!


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